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Israeli pop vocalist Netta Barzilai (aka Netta) is a dynamic performer with a soulful, dance-oriented sound who is best-recognized for winning the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with "Toy." Emerging in 2017 while competing on the televised HaKokhav HaBa for her place in Eurovision, Netta drew fans with her big, resonant voice and electronic, loop-based style.
Born in Hod HaSharon, Israel in 1993, Netta grew up in the Tel Aviv area and spent several years living in Nigeria while her father worked on a construction project. As a teenager, she developed a love of music and after high school, she completed her mandatory military service as a singer in the Israeli Navy Band. It was during this period that she discovered the electronic looper instrument after watching a video of New Zealand singer Kimbra using the device. By the time she left the Navy she was adept on the looper, able to construct songs live on-stage. Upon her discharge in 2016, she spent a year studying electronic music at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. Around the same time, she worked days as a kindergarten teacher, and sang regularly at Tel Aviv's Bar Giora Club, where she helmed the weekly blues night. She also co-founded the improvisation-based vocal trio the Experiment and toured Israel.
In 2017, Netta auditioned for season five of the interactive singing competition HaKokhav HaBa, in which performers vie to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. Initially, she was cut in early rounds after not receiving enough votes. However, she returned after being saved by the judges and eventually won the competition with her mash-up rendition of Kesha's "Tik Tok" and PSY's "Gangnam Style." The victory solidified her opportunity to compete for Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, which was held in Lisbon, Portugal. In March 2018, Netta released her Eurovision single, the Doron Medalie- and Stav Beger-produced "Toy." Marked by the singer's looped vocals and rhythmic "chicken sounds," the song proved a popular novelty hit, hitting number one in Israel and becoming the most viewed video on the Eurovision YouTube channel. On May 12, 2018, "Toy" was named the Eurovision winner, marking the fourth time Israel had won the contest. Over the next few months, the song continued to garner attention, and in August 2018, "Toy" peaked at number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
- Hod HaSharon, Israel
- Jan 22, 1993
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